Let’s Go For a Walk

Now that spring time is among us (thank God) it seems everyone is talking about “going out for a walk.” But there’s more to it than just walking. First off, everyone should know their limitations. When your friend says, “let’s go out for a walk”, you should consider if you are not a walker and she is.  What may not be beneficial for you may not be beneficial to her and vice versa.  You should first use clothing that is windproof and comfortable and realize while you are walking your body temperature will heat up. Too much clothing will make you uncomfortable with abnormal perspiration. Stretching beforehand, specifically stretching your calves and your hamstrings will get circulation to lower extremities.

Utilizing loose clothing, especially upper extremities allows your arms to swing back and forth, which can generate more cardiovascular exercise.

However, walking shoes are your most important item of gear. This is not the time to skimp on costs. There are many good walking shoes and walking shoes that are good are the ones that are good for you. There is really no one best shoe for all walkers. The best shoe for you is the one that fits you the best, the one it gives you the proper support, flexibility, cushioning, and compensates for any stride problems you may have, such as over-pronation. Comfort cushioning at the sole of the shoe allows for a cushioned impact and prevents knee and hip pain following long walks, especially when walking on hard surfaces. Look to get a good quality shoe one that will breathe and also one that allows for a little stretching as your feet expand while walking. Also realize what type of surface you are going to be walking on. The harder the surface, such as walking on cement will require you to have a much more cushioned sole than if you were walking on soft ground or grass. Unfortunately, it seems shoe manufacturers put the best design and technology into running shoe styles, while walking shoe styles are designed primarily for market appeal rather than performance.  Make sure that the walking shoe is flexible and able to bend and twist.   When you take walking steps, your heel connects first then transfers through the walk.  If the shoe is too stiff, your foot will fight it with each step. Walking shoes should have a relatively flat heel. Since Walker’s strike with the heel first, you do not want a flared heal. In fact, a slightly undercut heel is preferred. Also realize if you’re going to be a true dedicated Walker, you may find yourself walking in poor weather conditions and getting good quality insoles will prevent you from getting your feet wet while walking. To know if the walking is giving you a true cardiovascular exercise, you should not be able to have a regular conversation while you are walking. If you are walking with a friend, you should have labored breaths while walking as this will get your target heart rate elevated and get you the best cardiovascular performance. A cardiovascular walk of 15 to 20 minutes a day is an excellent form of exercise. Target heart rate is the number of beats your heart takes in a minute that is best for you. Discuss with your medical physician if you have any issues or cardiovascular problems that may prevent you from walking. But if you are of general good health a standard target heart rate is 220 minus your age times 75%. Resting heart rate is the pulse rate when you are sitting for 60 seconds. For example, I am a 57 years old male of good health. My target heart rate is calculated at 220-57×75% which gets me to a 123 beats per minute for 15 – 20 minutes for a great cardiopulmonary exercise. Target heart rate obtained for approximately 15 minutes three times per week is great for overall health and a good walking program.


This article submitted by Dr. Thomas C McGillick Chiropractic physician Forked River, NJ